Peter Anderson, Cummins Vice President for Global Supply Chain and Manufacturing, returns to the University of Huddersfield having graduated from the Transport and Distribution degree in 1991
WHEN Peter Anderson came to Huddersfield for degree study, he was the first member of his family to enter Higher Education. But his BSc course in Transport and Distribution equipped him for a career that has now seen him rise to become Vice President for Global Supply Chain and Manufacturing at global power leader Cummins.
Based at the US headquarters of the company – which has a plant in Huddersfield producing turbochargers – he is responsible for budgets running into many billions of dollars and for 37,500 employees. Also, as a leading supply chain professional he can exert a powerful influence over the design and manufacture of products.
“My degree at Huddersfield was directly relevant to my career. I could never have got to where I am without doing it,” said Darlington-born Mr Anderson when he paid a return visit to the University to meet current staff of the Business School and give a talk on supply chain trends and challenges to a large group of final-year students taking a retail and manufacturing logistics module.
When he first came to Huddersfield in 1991, Mr Anderson had a choice between studying mechanical engineering or transport and distribution, a subject that was then being pioneered at the institution. He was persuaded by tutor Colin Bamford – now an Emeritus Professor – take this latter route.
And today his knowledge of the supply chain means that he works closely with engineers and designers, in order to ensure that products can be distributed and sold profitably. His experience of manufacturing processes makes him highly influential.
“There are different methods of manufacturing that engineers might not be aware of,” said Mr Anderson. “I have responsibility for everything from the initial sign-off of the design right the way through to transportation and warehousing – and for the quality of the product as well. If I don’t get it right, then the company doesn’t make any money.”
His degree provided the nuts and bolts of his supply chain expertise, and it was then bolstered by a varied career in the UK, Europe and now the USA. It began with a role as regional supply planner for Redland Roof Tiles, the firm with which he had spent the work placement that was built into his Huddersfield course.
Before joining Cummins in 2017, Mr Anderson worked for 10 years at Ernst & Young, forming its global supply chain practice. Other employers have included Price Waterhouse, and his consultancy role at such firms gave him vast experience of a range of industries around the world.
“Globalisation is happening whether you want it to or not, especially from a supply chain perspective,” said Mr Anderson. “It is going to continue accelerating and we are not going to change it.”
When he spoke to students, he analysed a range of technological and social trends that are changing the face of industry and distribution. They included the concept of mobile manufacturing, new forms of customisation, and 3D printing, leading to components being produced on demand.
Change is so rapid that supply chain professionals need to display continual intellectual curiosity, stressed Mr Anderson.
In addition to his session with students, he held talks with several members of the teaching staff of the Huddersfield Business School, including the Head of Logistics, Operations, Hospitality and Marketing, Professor Samir Dani. After his lecture he was thanked by Professor John Anchor, who is Associate Dean (International)